6 September 2019 | hof-4
Eerie, haunting movie
The Isla de la Fantasía (Fantasy Island) was formed not many years ago from accumulation of silt in the Amazon river. The eastern shore faces the town of Leticia, Colombia while the western fronts the Peruvian Chinería island. A few kilometers downriver the boundaries of Colombia, Peru and Brazil intersect at a point on the waters. The island has been gradually colonized by families without much resources. Many of the inhabitants are refugees from poverty or violence. Life in the island is not easy; during four months of the year it lies under the waters, thus the typical dwellings are cottages on stilts. During these months the only links between houses are canoes and precarious passageways. In spite of the harsh conditions children attend a cheerful looking school and islanders have meetings to discuss their living conditions and their future.
The protagonists are Amparo, who is fleeing the Colombian armed conflict and her children Nuria and Fabio. The first scene takes place in inky darkness and shows the family in a small canoe, arriving in the island and being received by Doña Albina, Amparo's elderly aunt. This begins a haunting tale of struggle and survival where the living and the dead have at times equal rights to reality. If the movie's style could be given a label, it would be "low-key magical realism." The viewer is bewitched by degrees and the last scene, again involving canoes in the darkness is intensely moving.
Direction by Brazilian Beatriz Seigner, who also wrote the script is deliberate and fluid. Cinematography by Colombian Sofia Oggioni gives relief both to the realistic and fantastic aspects of the story. Music is kept to a minimum and noises (such as canoes softly bumping into each other in the shadows) are carefully and purposely used. Acting (both from professional and amateurs) is first rate. A not-to-miss movie.